The M.V. Quinitsa has returned to the Crofton-Vesuvius ferry route following the Thanksgiving weekend.
It’s all part of an ongoing shuffle of vessels by BC Ferries both for maintenance reasons and for continued operation on certain routes.
The Bowen Queen had been going between Crofton and Salt Spring Island since April 1 when the Quinitsa moved to Buckley Bay so the Baynes Sound Connector could undergo annual planned maintenance.
The Bowen Queen will now be heading to the Southern Gulf Islands route out of Swartz Bay to relieve the Mayne Queen while maintenance work is done on that vessel.
“The Quinitsa will provide service between Crofton and Vesuvius from now until the spring,” noted Deborah Marshall, BC Ferries’ executive director of public affairs for strategy and community engagement.
“In the spring, we will deploy two new Island class vessels on the Gabriola (Island) run, which frees up their current vessel, the Quinsam,” she added. “In the spring, the Quinsam will be deployed to the Crofton route.”
The Quinitsa has a slightly lower car capacity than the Bowen Queen. Despite that, lineups were frequently long at peak times during the summer that created a bottleneck for traffic trying to access other parts of Crofton along Chaplin Street.
There’s no relief in sight for that situation, with BC Ferries’ planned Crofton ferry terminal redevelopment project stalled.
“Regarding the Crofton terminal development plan, due to COVID-19 and impacts to our capital plan, we are currently revisiting the plan in terms of both scope and timing of improvements,” explained Astrid Chang, BC Ferries manager of corporate communications.